The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Sid Gold
He knew better, he told me
in that dry voice so matter-of-fact
you could shake hands with it,
than to start walking at 2 A.M.
that night his pick-up stalled out
somewhere in the Pine Barrens
so he stayed put until daylight
when someone finally came along.
He loved it up there, he said
but it could be lonely, lonely.
A good tale, albeit a small one,
& quick in the telling.
Did I mention the speaker
was my mechanic?
Kept those heaps I drove running
for years longer than they should.
That afternoon, during that walk,
my father was intent on showing me
the joint in Hell’s Kitchen
with the two bullet holes in the mirror
over the bar. It was a narrow storefront
in the middle of the block, but the bar itself
was gone, its site now nothing more
than an empty, unlit space in a row
of eyesores where only the Chinese laundry
appeared open for business. The day
was pleasant & we had nothing to do
but wander around Hell’s Kitchen with nothing
to do, my father matter-of-factly explaining
the ritual of bar crawls years ago with his buddies
from the job, men who might tell you
they drove a truck for a living & then add,
after a moment’s pause, they were teamsters,
a term surviving from the era when those
who did such work drove teams of horses.
My father said all this as we strolled west
down West 48th, yet I don’t recall
whether it was before or after we visited Rudy’s
on 9th, where the guy on the next stool
engaged me in polite conversation
about the manufacture of homemade guns.
On that topic, I had little to say & my father,
momentarily busy reconnoitering
on the island of his memory, even less.
Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication